Peterborough shoe retailer steps up a size with acquisition

Anne Cotton and James North outside R C Cotton and Sons, in Market Place, Oundle.
Anne Cotton and James North outside R C Cotton and Sons, in Market Place, Oundle.
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A locally grown independent shoe retailer has just completed an expansion of its operations.

North Shoes, which was founded 141 years ago, has agreed the acquisition of Cottons of Oundle – a family shoe firm that traces its origins to 1871.

The deal means that Cottons, of 7 Market Place, Oundle, will trade as North Shoes from the end of July.

All six full and part-time members of staff have been taken on as part of the deal.

It also means North Shoes now have five shops, with stores in Westgate, in Peterborough, Stamford, Bourne and Cambridge,

James North, the fifth generation at the helm of Bourne-based North Shoes, said: “We’re always looking for more shops.

“I am absolutely delighted to have acquired Cottons. It is the right fit for us – a lovely, independent, long-established shoe business in a lovely market town.

“We want to carry on offering what they have been offering as a quality family concern, including the links with Oundle School.

“We will continue to sell all of the brands they have offered and maintain the same high quality level of service, bringing the Society of Shoe Fitters expertise to the business.”

Managing director Anne Cotton, the fourth generation at the head of R C Cotton and Sons Ltd, said: “I will be sad to see the business go out of the family but my father, Stuart, and I recognise this is the right time for it to happen.

“We could have kept running the shop and then one day closed, but this way the town is going to be assured of a good quality independent shoe shop for many years to come.

“It’s amazing that two such old-established independent shoe shops should be coming together in this way.

She added: “It feels right to hand it over to someone like James, whom I have known for some time. I know he shares my ideas about business.”